Part of the William
Stained Glass &
Tapestry Works ,
Museum open every Wednesday 1-4 pro and
first Sunday of each month 2-5 pm
The Museum also welcomes schools and groups by appointment
ADMISSION : .ADULTS 20p CHILDREN & SENIOR CITIZENS lOp
PETER D. HARRIS
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE HISTORIC RIVER WANDLE
The Vestry Hall Annexe, London Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3UD
Tel: 0181 6480127
OPEN: Every Wednesday 1 - 4 pm; First Sunday of
each month 2-5 pm.
The Museum is also open to schools and groups by appointment. Admission:
Adults 20p, Children & Senior Citizens 10o
Visitors to the Museum We are pleased to report an excellent turn out for the Museums Week "Magical
History Tour" when over 50 members of the public visited the Wandle Industrial Museum as part of the
tour. We are also pleased to report that our Textile Workshops for schools are now up and running again.
Thanks to volunteers, Mary Hart and Auriel Glanville who have stepped into the breach since the death of
Peter Harris. We have recently had four school visits from Malmsburv Middle School which were most
Outreach Once again the National Trust Favre at Morden Hall Park in May proved a popular event;
this year blessed with beautiful sunny weather. Thanks to all volunteers who set up and manned our stall
over this three day event. Nearly £300 was raised which was very good indeed. We always need volunteers
for fetes and fairs, especially car owners. Please telephone the Museum if you can offer help in this way.
Volunteers It is with regret we have to report the death of Peter Harris, long time volunteer and Vice
Chairman of the Management Committee. (See the tribute to his life and work on separate page).
However in his memory, volunteers Mary and Nicholas Hart and Meg Thomas, have mounted a new
exhibition in the Museum of his drawings which illustrate "The Historic River Wandle" taken from the
three books in that series. The Exhibition is open now, so do make a trip to the Museum to see it.
Past Outing to Medwav Live Industrial Museum See article on separate page.
Present Visit to Cobham Mill -A report will go out in the next
Future Museums Annual General Meeting Planned for Thursday, October 7th at "The William Morris" at
Merton Abbey Mills at 7.30 p.m. Speaker to be announced. Further details to follow.
Wandle Industrial Museum Membership There are still a few member who have not yet renewed their
1998-9 membership. A reply slip is included for our subscription. We regret we will not be able to send
you any further Newsletters or reminders.
Sheila Harris 28/6/99
PETER D. Harris
Peter Harris, local scientific artist historian and naturalist, died on 19 May 1999 aged
64. He was born on July 20 1934.
It is with great sadness that we report the
death of Peter D. Harris, vice chair of the
Wandle Industrial Museum, a well known
local figure and a respected local scientific
artist historian and naturalist, who died on
May 19, at St Helier Hospital, after a long
Peter and his wife
Sheila, who were both
teachers, came to
Merton from Cheshire
in the mid 1960's,
settling first in North
Mitcham, then in
Tamworth Lane, and,
finally, Cannon Hill
Peter cut his
digging Roman sites
at Chester, but, once
in Merton, it was the
Wandle and its rich
heritage which caught, and held, his
attention, to become one of his main
interests. In recognition of his work, he
more recently received a Mayor's Award
from the London Borough of Merton for
his services to the community.
This was not to overlook Peter's other
activities. His work with the handicapped
included the creation of the Ram Jam
Band, which channelled the talents of
people less fortunate, and provided many
concerts for local people.
Peter was, of course, deputy manager at
the famous Jan Malinosowski Centre for
over 20 years and helped adults with
learning difficulties. He was also a senior
server at the Sacred Heart Church, Edge
On the heritage front, Peter was also a
member of the Merton Historical Society,
and served on the committee for many
years. He was Chairman from 1987 to
1989. As well as being a
member of the Merton
Arts Council, and the
Merton Scientific Society
he also formed his own
exhibition in the 1980's
portraying the creation of
the Universe, entitled
Fantasia - A History of
Life, and was featured at
the Wimbledon Library
Gallery and at other local
Displays at the Wandle
Industrial Museum of
which he was a Trustee,
owe much to his artistic
ability, for Peter was an artist of
considerable talent. Peter was also a
familiar figure around the borough as he
was always ready to give talks on the
Wandle, illustrated from his own extensive
collection of slides. It is Peter's artistic
skill and historical knowledge, which he
freely donated, by which he will be fondly
remembered. The Wandle Industrial
Museum amongst many other groups, owes
a special debt of gratitude for his work on
the Wandle. Peter's departure will leave a
difficult gap to fill, but his memory will
endure as will his legacy to local studies.
He is survived by his wife Sheila, and his
sisters Eileen and Paula.
VISIT TO CHATHAM
In April some of the Museum Members joined the Merton Scientific Society on a trip to Chatham.
Our first port of call when we reached the Medway towns was The Old Brook Pumping Station. The
pump house was built in the 1920s to house the Diesel run engines that were designed to pump away excess
storm water. The engines still carry out the same task today, they could have been replaced by an automatic
engine but, fortunately, these engines were preserved and work just as efficiently as they did when they
were first installed.
The engines were started up and showed that working there was not a peaceful task as the noise was deafening.
Our host strove manfully to speak to us over the noise of the pumps. When we went outside to see the result of
all the pumping we were met with another roar of sound, this time from the water itself.
Inside again, we looked at some of the other machinery on show including a rare hot air engine from the
1890s, a printing machine from 1845 and a boot sewing machine from early this century.
And of especial interest to us were the very detailed models of wind and water powered mills.
From the pumping station we walked up the hill to Fort Amherst, which overlooks Chatham dockyard.
Chatham dockyard has been important in the ship building since Henry Vlll's time. It was therefore seen as
an obvious target for invasion after Napoleon came to power and began his conquests
Fort Amherst was one of a string of forts built as a defence against the French, who at this time were seen as a
very real threat.
The main firepower is aimed inland, this was to defend the shipyard against forces who would have landed
on the south coast and travelled north towards the Thames estuary. Needless to say it never shot a round in
Much renovation work has been carried out, some of it funded by English Heritage and the fort is now a
living museum. There are many volunteers, some of whom dress in costumes of the Napoleonic era and then
explain to visitors the role they played in the running of the fort, and what it was like to live at the fort
during its time as a manned station.
While we were there a small group of children were dressed up as soldiers and were put through their paces
by the sergeant. The sergeant also discharged a musket, and we were very surprised by the shock wave,
which could be felt in the coach!
We were given a tour of the fort, which covered quite a large area, both on the surface and underground.
In one of the underground areas a lady volunteer gave us a very lively description of life as an army wife.
Her other role on that day was to feed a hungry horde of youngsters who were enjoying a birthday party
during which they had a tour of the fort dressed up as miniature soldiers.
Some members of the party enjoyed a very pleasant lunch in the small restaurant, while others picnicked
outside in the company of some rather hungry chickens!
All in all a very enjoyable and informative day was had by all. XMeg Thomas
NEW WIMBLEDON CIVIC FORUM
The Wimbledon Civic Forum is bringing together the people of Wimbledon and their institutions - social,
commercial, charitable and ethnic - so that they can create a new sense of civic purpose in their town and
ensure the participation of the community in the management of its civil life.
This challenge and vision has been brought together by the inspiration of Roger Casale M.P. for
Wimbledon who was keen to create a community organisation to bring local people face to face with key
decision makers and personalities with the aim of improving the quality of our community life and local
amenities in Wimbledon.
As all Wandle Readers will be aware the Wandle flows through all parts of the Borough of Merton and is
the reason why the Water-wheel was chosen as Merton's logo
If anyone would like to support the Wimbledon Civic Forum they can become a friend and help to shape
the future of Wimbledon as well as seeking opportunities to improve the River Wandle in Wimbledon.
For more information contact:-
Wimbledon Civic Forum
200 The Broadway,
Wimbledon, SW19 1RY
Tel/Fax 0181 2880957
Ray Leyden 5/7/99
THE LONDON WALKING FORUM
The aim of the London Walking Forum is to have a 2,000km network of green leisure walking routes in
London. Much of this aim is in place already, built round the arteries of the Thames Path National Trail,
Lee Valley Walk, Green Chain Walk and Grand Union Canal Path, and are enjoyed by thousands every day.
The Forum has been trying to connect these linear routes and has created The London Loop a kind of
"M25 for Walkers", an orbital path 150 miles round with one third of it signposted. It is hoped to have it
completely signed within two years.
Jim Walker the Director says his vision is "To create a London where people choose to walk as a way of
travel, be healthy and relax". He wants everyone who lives, works or visits London to know about and be
excited by the walking opportunities here.
There are 300 leisure walks being promoted in London and over 100 maps and guides published for walkers
including of course our own Wandle Trail.
To be acceptable to the London Walking Forum our Wandle Trail needs to be altered and amended to include
much more information for walkers.
Information required includes:- Refreshment points;
Toilets Car parks Access points
Links to other London walks Public telephones Road and road names
Extension of route to East Croydon Station Approximate scale indication
Accessibility for people with special needs Train, Tramlink and bus
information Underfoot walking conditions information Ordnance Survey
grid references for start/finish
It will be quite a task to update the Wandle Trail Map to meet the standards of the
London Walking Forum but it is a challenge that the Museum hopes to meet in the
The London Walking Forum has two immediate aims; firstly, to change popular attitudes to walking and to
create a culture where everyday walking is acceptable. Secondly, it needs to get London's pedestrian ways
The Forum also wants to see a string of initiatives coming with a walking element. Current walking initiatives
include the British Tourist Authority's Britain for Walkers Campaign, the English Tourist Board's Walking
Tool Kit to be launched in June and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region's
Strategy which will guide regional authorities on the importance of walking and call for local planning to
encourage it. It will be good for the Wandle Industrial Museum's own Wandle Trail to be part of this ongoing
Adapted from an article Capital Walks" by Jim Walker, Director of the London Walking Forum in
"Rambling Today" the official magazine of the Ramblers' Association. Extra information supplied by
Phil Rvder Environmental Services Dept. London Borough of Merton.
Sheila Harris/May 1999
CROYDON FESTIVAL OF WALKING 1999
114c Waddon New Road, Croydon, CRO 4JE, England
Saturday and Sunday 11-12 September
Supporting local charities
Great walking for everyone in lovely
countryside in the London Boroughs of
Croydon and Bromley and in Surrey